About a dozen leaders from Africa under the auspices of the African Union Peace Commission are visiting Russia and Ukraine to press for an end to the war. The Mission comprises the leaders of South Africa, Zambia, the Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Egypt, Senegal and Uganda, as representatives of a continent that has felt the adverse economic impact of the conflict.

President Cyril Ramaphosa first travelled to Poland, en route to Ukraine and the Russian Federation as part of his participation in the African Peace Mission aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

This afternoon the President visited the Polish capital, Warsaw, to pay a courtesy call on President Andrzej Duda, who leads a country that shares borders with Ukraine and Russia and is deeply affected by the regional conflict.

President Ramaphosa is now proceeding to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv for deliberations tomorrow – as a member of the African Peace Mission – with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

President Ramaphosa has in recent weeks been in conversation with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, President Zelenskyy, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, leaders of BRICS countries and the Secretary-General of the United Nations regarding efforts to facilitate a peaceful process to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in line with South Africa’s standing as a non-aligned state.

The group will leave Kyiv en route to St Petersburg, Russia, where the African delegation will engage with President Putin on Saturday, 17 June.

On the eve of the Mission, President Ramaphosa said: “The human and negative economic impact and tension arising from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is a grave situation that affects all of us in an interconnected world”.

“The African Peace Mission brings an African perspective and an appeal for a peace process to deliberations that are underway in various parts of the world and within different formations of nations on how to address the conflict in Ukraine and Russia”.

“We are pleased and encouraged by the openness with which the two Presidents have undertaken to engage with African leaders on this matter. From our own experience, it is at times of escalated conflict that a search for peace must be equally accelerated. This peace initiative should be seen as complementing other peace initiatives that other parties have put forward. The strength of this mission is that African leaders will be engaging with both parties”.

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